Ilfracombe’s boat fails to come in

Joseph Bulmer

Bad weather deters MV Rotterdam

THERE was huge disappointment this on Sunday as the much anticipated visit to Ilfracombe by the cruise ship MS Rotterdam and its 1,300 visitors was cancelled at the 11th hour.

Harbour Master Rob Lawson was contacted by Captain de Vries of the Holland America vessel late yesterday to say she would not be calling in because weather predictions indicated it would be unsafe to land passengers.

The mainly American visitors would have been brought ashore by the ship’s motor launches and the captain felt not only would landing be unsafe, but it would be difficult to return passengers to the Rotterdam in the afternoon, with winds predicted to increase.

“It’s unfortunate that conditions are actually quite calm this morning, but they have to make these decisions early to plan routes,” said mr Lawson.

“It’s a real shame for Ilfracombe and in particular it’s sad for the people who put in so much work to make the visit a success.”

A range of entertainment had been put on to greet the passengers, with bands, musicians and displays being held at the pier, the seafront and Landmark.

Most, if not all, of the entertainers had given their time free of charge for the benefit of the visit.

North Devon Council, Ilfracombe Town Council and many others had worked together to put on the welcoming activities and ensure all was ready for the ship’s arrival.

They will continue as planned today and anyone who had intended to visit Ilfracombe is urged to go ahead because there is still plenty to see and do. The High Street Traders decided to open today and by mid-morning the street was very busy, despite the absence of the American visitors.

The town still has the visit of the slightly smaller MS Prinsendam to look forward to on July 22.